The Brexit Party came in second losing by less than 1000 votes to Labour’s candidate Lisa Forbes. Tory candidate Paul Bristow came in third with 7,243 votes. Away from the top three, the Liberal Democrats finished in fourth place with 4,159 votes. The result comes as a severe blow to the Brexit Party who had hoped to capitalise on the seat.
Speaking following the result, Ms Forbes said: “There have been many in recent months who claimed democracy in this country is broken but you have proven them wrong.
“A democracy only works when people make their voices heard on the issues that matter to them.
“Many here are desperate to Peterborough change for the better.
“Despite differing opinions and the fact that Brexit Party have been rejected shows that the politics of division will not win.”
READ MORE: Peterborough by election FULL RESULT: Farage’s party defeated
According to polling aggregation website ‘Britain Elects’ turnout for the Peterborough by-election was 48.4 percent of the electorate.
The turnout for the local authority for the European elections 2019, in contrast, was 35 percent – however the boundaries for that contest were different.
The constituency, which voted Leave by 60.9 percent in the EU Referendum in 2016, has historically been a closely fought battle between Labour and the Conservatives.
Labour won the seat in 2017 with a wafer-thin majority of 607.
Fifteen candidates stood in today’s by-election, which was called after Peterborough’s previous MP Fiona Onasanya was forced out after she was jailed for lying about a speeding offence.
Labour’s by-election candidate, Unite activist Lisa Forbes, faced controversy in the week before the poll over a Facebook post she “liked” which said Theresa May has a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.
She told The Sunday Times she apologised “wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts” and that she had liked the video attached to the post, “not the views expressed in the accompanying text”.
She said she would “deepen” her “understanding of anti-Semitism so I can act as an ally, challenging it wherever it occurs”.
Ms Onasanya was elected as a Labour MP and was suspended from the party after she was sentenced.
Both Labour and the Conservatives had campaigned hard ahead of the by-election, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former prime minister Gordon Brown and Tory big guns Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt all visiting the city in the lead-up.
But Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which won 29 seats in the European elections, had also campaigned hard in its first tilt at a Westminster seat.
Labour’s Lisa Forbes and Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene have jostled for position as the bookmakers’ favourite with the Tories admitting Paul Bristow stood little chance of claiming the seat.
The Mail on Sunday’s Harry Cole has tweeted his predictions ahead of the result.
The political expert admitted while Labour sources were “chipper” at the close of play the outcome of the poll was far from certain.
He said: “Labour sources were chipper at the close of play in Westminster.
“Truth is no one knows. BP have thumped air war and worked for low turn out euros.
“Established parties have better means of getting their vote out and ignoring unfriendlies. That said Labour candidate beyond dire.”
LBC’s Matthew Thompson has also weighed in on the predictions ahead of the result being announced.
Mr Thompson claimed tonight’s vote will be “a close one”.
He tweeted: “The ballot boxes are being counted here in Peterborough.
“It sounds like it will be a close one.
“Brexit Party sources are really worried about the Labour ground game. Have they managed to get the vote out enough to save their blushes?”
Brexit has dominated the campaign with Britain’s departure from the European Union deadlocked and the Conservative Party in the throes of a leadership election battle after the resignation of Theresa May.
Shortly after the polls closed Ms Forbes Tweeted: “Thank you to everyone supported my campaign for better schools, safer communities and cleaner streets.
“Special thanks to those who delivered the leaflets, knocked on the doors and encouraged people to go out to vote Labour. Thank you!”
Counting is now underway at KingsGate Church in Peterborough.
WE WILL BRING YOU EXIT POLL PREDICTIONS AND THE OFFICIAL RESULT AS SOON AS THEY ARE AVAILABLE
Simon Osborne contributed to this report.